FBI arrests 2 in NYC terrorism investigation

FBI arrests 2 in NYC ter

January 8, 2010 18:45
2 minute read.
terror suspect 248.88 AP

terror suspect 248.88 AP. (photo credit: AP [file])


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Two men were arrested Friday in the investigation of a suspected bomb plot targeting New York City that previously led to charges against a airport driver in Denver. The arrests in New York of Adis Medunjanin and Zarein Ahmedzay were part of "an ongoing investigation" by the Joint Terrorism Task Force, according to FBI agent Richard Kolko, who declined to comment further. There were no immediate details on the charges against the men, according to Kolko and Robert Nardoza, a spokesman for the US attorney's office in New York's Brooklyn borough. The men were expected to appear in court later Friday, Nardoza said. Medunjanin's attorney, Robert C. Gottlieb, said the FBI seized his client's passport Thursday. The search warrant indicated the passport was sought as part of an investigation into a conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction, Gottlieb said. The airport driver, Najibullah Zazi, previously pleaded not guilty to that charge. He is accused of getting al-Qaida training to build homemade bombs to attack New York City. After Medunjanin's apartment was searched, he apparently became upset, got into his car and left. While driving erratically, he called police and made threatening comments, according to a law enforcement official who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the person was not authorized to discuss the case. He got into an accident and was treated at a hospital for minor injuries. Ahmedzay was arrested overnight while driving a taxi in Manhattan, authorities said. Medunjanin, who is originally from Bosnia, and Ahmedzay, who was born in Afghanistan, are both US citizens. They and Zazi all attended Flushing High School in New York City's Queens borough. Federal investigators questioned Medunjanin and Ahmedzay months ago in the terrorism probe. Their photographs were among four shown to Ahmad Wais Afzali, a Queens imam accused of tipping off Zazi that New York police detectives were looking for him, according to Afzali's attorney. Gottlieb has said FBI agents seized computers and cell phones from Medunjanin's apartment last fall but later returned them. Gottlieb said the FBI confirmed the arrests for him Friday morning, many hours after they occurred. Gottlieb said he didn't know what charges the men faced. Gottlieb, who insists Medunjanin has done nothing wrong, said officials at the Queens hospital had told him that authorities had taken Medunjanin into custody after he was treated. "They intentionally hid him from his lawyer and his family," Gottlieb said. The name of Ahmedzay's attorney was not on record. Interviewed by the AP in the fall, Ahmedzay's brother, Nazir, denied that he had been involved in any plot against the US. "No, never," he said. The two men were first publicly linked to the investigation in September, when investigators raided their homes shortly before Zazi's arrest. Authorities have been watching them for months. Gottlieb had previously confirmed that investigators had questioned Medunjanin and taken computers and cell phones from his apartment. Prosecutors said that Zazi had recently traveled to a terrorist training camp in Pakistan, and they said he had been accompanied on the trip to that country by "others," but didn't name them. A man who answered the phone at Ahmedzay's apartment Friday morning and identified himself as his father said he had just learned of his son's arrest. "We saw it on the television this morning," he said. He said his son works the night shift, driving a cab, and didn't come home in the morning. "I don't know what happened," he said. Asked if his son knew Zazi or was involved in anything related to terrorism, he said, "I don't know."

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